Sunday, August 07, 2011
The Writer's Pride
Did I mention that I have a granddaughter?
The world turned upside-down a few weeks ago when hubby and I learned that we have a beautiful granddaughter. We promptly went to see her, and we're thrilled to be able to hold and love this little girl.
Yes, I now carry a "Grandma's brag book" in my purse, though I prefer the name Nana, thank you very much.
But as one who works with words, I don't think the word "proud" applies here--after all, I did nothing to produce this little miracle. What would be more accurate is to say I'm simply delighted with her and by her.
(And, BTW, for privacy reasons, I never refer to my family by name on this blog. You understand.)
Speaking of pride:
I was reading good ol’ C.S. Lewis a few years ago, namely MERE CHRISTIANITY's chapter on “the great sin.” You guessed it—pride. Lewis points out that most human vices come from “our animal nature,” but pride doesn’t come through an animal nature, but from Hell itself. (Ever seen an animal compare itself to another?)
Lewis says that pride is essentially competitive. The fault doesn’t lie in recognizing our abilities, it lies in comparing our abilities to others’. Pride doesn’t want us to say we’re good writers or have beautiful grandchildren, it wants to make us think we’re better and our grandchildren are prettier than everyone else's.
Lewis says, “If everyone became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking there would be nothing to be proud about. It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone.”
That’s why I remind myself that in God’s ultimate reality, the earthly externals don't matter—what matters is if we were obedient to God’s call, if we were good stewards with the talents and abilities we were given, and if we obeyed the prompting of the Spirit. And if, of course, we delight in others' grandchildren as we delight in our own. :-)
If we do that, and if we honor our brothers and sisters as we would honor ourselves, we ARE equally obedient in God’s sight. Competition disappears, pride dies.
Pride, Lewis says, is spiritual cancer—it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense. He points out that pleasure in being praised is not Pride. If someone says, “Well done,” and you’re pleased, that’s okay. The trouble begins when you move from thinking, ‘I have pleased him, all is well’ to “What a fine person I must be to have done it.’
Lewis: “The more you delight in yourself and the less you delight in the praise, the worse you are becoming.
Another thing I found interesting: Pride’s opposite is humility, but don’t think the most humble person is the one who hangs his head and goes around moaning about how untalented he is. He has taken the pendulum of pride in the opposite direction and is still self-centered. Lewis says that if you meet a truly humble person, “probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him.”
Not like the grandparent who said, “Forgive me, I’ve talked about my grandchildren enough. Tell me—what do YOU think of my little darlings?”
LOL. May God help me to remember I am only ONE in a sea of redeemed believers in Christ. One happy grandmother. One hard-working writer. May he help me to be faithful to my calling, and supportive of everyone else’s.
Until next time,